I Learned This Bad Eating Habit As A State Trooper

Posted on January 16, 2018. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I wanted to spend a minute or two talking about a terrible eating habit I developed when I became a State Trooper:

I learned to eat as fast as possible.

I learned to gulp down my food within minutes.  We are talking about a full meal that I learned to devour within 5 or 10 minutes.

It started in the Illinois State Police Academy.  We were given a limited amount of time to eat, clean up and get back into our classroom.  I would eat so fast that my stomach hurt.  But, I got my belly full and got back into class on time.

As a brand new Trooper patrolling the Tollway system, I learned from the older Troopers that having time to actual eat was very limited.  Calls were non-stop and if things slowed down for a bit and I was able to get lunch; I had to eat it in fast gulps.

Have you fallen into this bad habit?  Time is always at a premium.  Do you find yourself wolfing down your breakfast or lunch?

You work long hours, rush home through painful traffic or on overly-crowded public transportation, only to rush through eating again, because there are bills to pay, bathrooms to clean, kids to shuttle….

Our fast-paced society includes fast-paced eating.

Yet, there are plenty of reasons to eat slowly.

If you eat slowly, it helps your digestion, you stay hydrated more easily, it’s easier to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, and you enjoy your food more. If eating slowly creates these benefits, eating too quickly obviously causes the opposite effects.

One of the most important reasons to eat more slowly is it allows your brain to catch up with your stomach. It takes about 20 minutes from the time you begin eating for the brain to recognize when you are satiated, that is, full.

Many people eat so fast, their brain doesn’t have time to tell them they are done eating, and they end up consuming more calories than they need!

In addition, if you eat slowly, you help your digestion. Like any system, digestion has to go from step 1 to step 2 to step 3, etc. But it takes time to get ready for each step.

When you eat too fast, you send food into this relatively fragile system before it’s ready. This is especially true if you don’t take time to chew your food sufficiently; it lands as a lump in your stomach without having been as well processed as it should be.  Thus, you feel like you ate a brick of cement.  Yuck!

So if you suffer from indigestion or other GI problems, you might want to evaluate how quickly you eat your food.

Let’s take a look at a study done by the University of Rhode Island(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18589027), in which they brought in 30 women of “normal” weight, for two visits.

The women were told to eat until full (satiated), but one time they were told to eat quickly, and the other time they were told to put down their fork after each bite.

When they ate quickly, they consumed 646 calories in 9 minutes. (I think I was able to eat double that in my heyday of fast eating).When eating slowly, they consumed 579 calories in 29 minutes. That’s 67 fewer calories in 20 more minutes! In addition, when they ate slowly, the women drank 209 grams of water (fast) vs. 410 grams (slow).

Finally, when they ate quickly, the women felt hungry sooner than when they ate the same amount of food slowly.

If you imagine these kinds of results three times a day, seven days a week, week after week, you can see how quickly these women would eat more calories and drink less water, when eating fast.

OK, so I hope I’ve convinced you that eating slowly is much better for you than wolfing down your food. So how do you do that?

  • Eat more high-fiber foods (like fruits and vegetables) first.
  • Cut your bites smaller before putting them in your mouth. Then actually count how many times you chew before swallowing.
  • Do not take another bite of food until the food in your mouth is clear.
  • Drink a glass of water before you sit down to eat – and during the meal – as this will make you feel more full, and less desperate to get the food into your mouth.
  • Use smaller plates for smaller portions.
  • If you usually use a fork, try using chopsticks! (If you’re not familiar with them, this will definitely slow you down.)
  • Give yourself at least 20 to 30 minutes to eat…. Not the usual 5 to 10.
  • Eat with others and engage in witty, engaging conversation. 😉
  • Put down your utensil after each bite to savor both the flavors and the company
  • Don’t eat when you’re bored; only when you’re truly hungry
  • Don’t multitask while you eat; pay attention to the experience of eating
  • Eat on a schedule, not all day long

So, take your time and enjoy your meals.  Your belly will thank you for it!

If you think anyone on your email list might enjoy this information, please feel free to share!   www.haukfitness.com

You Rock!



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